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PALA by Gurvinder Singh
(Punjabi with English subtitles, 83 minutes)
The film is a profile of Pala, a storyteller from Punjab. It deals with the diversity of the centuries old storytelling and musical tradition of which he is a part, but a tradition which is rapidly on decline. Pala claims to belong to no particular faith and can with ease transform himself and his musical talent to suit the needs of the space where he is performing. What he represents is a kind of folk religion, which has assimilated the traits of all the three principal faiths of Punjab, namely Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam.
Gurvinder Singh graduated from the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, in 2001. He has directed two features in Punjabi, ‘Alms For The Blind Horse’ and ‘ChauthiKoot’ (Fourth Direction), which have premiered at Venice Film Festival (2011) and Cannes Film Festival (2015), respectively. His films have travelled widely to various film festivals, including Rotterdam, Busan, Munich, BFI London, Rio De Janeiro, etc. He has won the Special Jury Award at Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Grand Prix at the Belgrade Auteur Film Festival; the Silver Screen Award for Best Asian film at Singapore; The Golden Peacock for Best Film at the International Film Festival of India, Goa; and the Golden Gateway at Mumbai Film Festival. Besides, he is the winner of National Award for Best Director for AnheyGhorhey da Daan, which also won two other National Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Punjabi Film. ChauthiKoot also won the National Film Award for Best Punjabi Film. In 2016 he directed a short film ‘Infiltrator’ as part of an international omnibus of ten short films, titled ‘In The Same Garden’. His latest short film ‘Sea of Lost Time’ had its premiere at the Rotterdam film festival (2019). ‘Khanaur’ (Bitter Chestnut) is his third feature, in Pahari language, which premiered at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea and was nominated for the Kim Jiseok Award. He is currently making his fourth feature, titled ‘AdhChananiRaat’ (Crescent Night) in Punjabi, based on a novel by the Punjabi writer Gurdial Singh.